NBC’s coverage of the NHL continues on Sunday afternoon when the Minnesota Wild host the Detroit Red Wings at 3 p.m. ET. You can catch all of the action on NBC or on our Live Stream right here.
These two teams enter play on Sunday rolling in two very different directions.
The Red Wings, just 6-7-6 since Jan. 1 and riding a three-game losing streak heading into Sunday’s game, have fallen to last place in the Eastern Conference (with the second-worst goal differential at minus-25) and are going to need a near miracle to surge back into a playoff position before the end of the season to keep their streak of consecutive playoff appearances alive.
It’s only a seven-point gap between them and a playoff spot, but this late in the season, and with literally every other team in the East standing in front of them, that is a massive gap to overcome with with less than 30 games to play.
Zetterberg has been one of the few bright spots in Detroit this season with a team-high 40 points and is still the best two-way player on the roster.
He enters play on Sunday with nine points in his past eight games, including three multi-point games.
The Wild, on the other hand, remain one of the hottest teams in the NHL and look to be on their way to giving coach Bruce Boudreau yet another division title to add to his resume with a third team. The only year he hasn’t won a regular season division title as a head coach was the 2011-12 season. The Wild, coming off of a 2-1 shootout win over Tampa Bay on Friday night, continue to hold a three-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks and still have three additional games in hand the rest of the way. While the Red Wings have been sputtering since the start of the new calendar year, the Wild have been nearly unstoppable with a 13-3-2 record since Jan. 1, earning 28 out of a possible 34 points in the standings during that stretch.
It has been a total team effort, too, with Devan Dubnyk playing at a Vezina Trophy level in goal while five forwards (Mikael Granlund, Jason Pominville, Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker and Mikko Koivu) all have at least 14 points during that stretch.